One Size Fits All Education

I mostly teach students who struggle in school. They may be below reading level, they may have issues at home that distract them from school, they may be what you would traditionally call "trouble-makers." Every day I see them get more and more discouraged by a system that is failing them. And I don't mean my specific school system, which does more than any other system I've worked in to meet individual student needs, but the entire education system in America as a whole.

Today, one of my boys told me he just wants to drop out. He is discouraged because he is failing several classes and doesn't know what he can do to catch up. He says I am the only one who helps him. What he doesn't understand is that his academic teachers have 200+ students that they see every day, and there isn't time to sit with him one-on-one. What I don't understand is why someone who wants to go into construction (like his dad) has to take 4 years of English, Science, and Math when he does not have to go to a 4 year college to attain his career goals. And his goals are both attainable and admirable. Why can't we meet HIS needs in a way that doesn't make him want to give up on education altogether?

I have another student who is so stressed out by the workload of school (most of which is completely beyond his reading level) that he often stays home which puts him even further behind and adds to his stress level.

I don't really have the answer, I just know there is a problem. Isn't that the first step???? I also know that the increase of standards has not necessarily resulted in the increase of knowledge or learning.

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